Manchester United will get the jitters, says Brian Kidd in show of Manchester City pride

Assistant manager refuses to concede title race and demands side keep on battling

When Brian Kidd walked into the press room it felt like part anti-climax/part Roberto Mancini evasion strategy. But it turned out to be a breath of fresh of air as the assistant manager gave voice to what Manchester City fans will probably admit they wish their team's manager had been saying for weeks.

The title race is not finished, as a matter of fact, claimed Kidd. "We are champions and we want to fight until the end. There will be jittery moments [for Manchester United] As champions you go out with pride. If you going to lose it you are going to lose it by getting knocked out, like a great boxer would – not on his stool."

Yes, of course it is a ridiculously tall order. The jitters Kidd alluded to were United blowing the title when eight points clear with six to play last season. Now they lead by a whopping 13 points with City six games from the finish and United five. If City lose at Tottenham tomorrow, United can regain the championship by winning at Aston Villa on Monday evening.

But let's give thanks for someone – a someone who won four titles as a manager and one as a player at Old Trafford, don't forget – coming out to give it a bit of noise, in the way you imagine Sir Alex Ferguson would. Kidd neatly sidestepped the question when asked whether Ferguson would ever publicly concede the title race over before it was over. "You talk about Alex…" he said but did not proceed to do so himself, swerving into another train of thought in the way he is in inclined to do.

But the answer is almost certainly: 'No. Fergie doesn't quit. Or not in public, at least.'

The oratory continued. As he offered a tour of all those "flair" players he wanted to name-check for delivering in spades – Gareth Barry was quite rightly up there, along with James Milner and Matija Nastasic – you could not help but think what a restorative effect it would have if Mancini tried this more often. The Italian only says nice things about his players when asked a leading question about how good they are and his habitual honesty about their weaknesses often makes things come out all wrong. There was a baffling comment on Wednesday after the win over Wigan about Micah Richards still not being fit enough, which sounded like another put down about a defender who had just played his first game since October. Mancini was given the benefit of the doubt.

It is stretching things somewhat to discuss Sunday's game, as Mancini has, in terms of City sealing second spot. The position is theirs. They have a far better squad than Tottenham – and so they should, with the resources at their disposal – albeit that in Gareth Bale Spurs have an impact player of width and pace. But Kidd's talk, using the word "champions" rather than delivering that whining appraisal of United being "lucky" and "five yards ahead" that Mancini takes recourse in, exposed one area in which they often do trail Spurs. Motivation.

Kidd, who said City will probably be without David Silva but should have Sergio Aguero fit to play, ranged off-message, treating Mancini's suggestion that United had been "lucky" with almost as much incredulity as his old boss Ferguson did, a week or so ago.

"I've been there and I keep hearing these stories that it is luck," he said of United. "It is not luck. It is ingrained in them." A contradiction between manager and assistant to rejoice in.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
News
news
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week